HARRINGTON OPENS UP ABOUT CHANG (AND THE BIG EAST) IN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
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Manhattan campus Manhattan campus shuts down due to damage caused due to Sandy. News Pg. 4
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Hurricane Sandy Gas shortage Commuters deal with lack of fuel and regulations in aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
Lifestyle Pg. 8
Hurricane Sandy Sandy relief telethon Local celebrities come together to raise funds for Sandy relief.
Lifestyle Pg. 8
Hurricane Sandy ROTC Relief Cadets head to devestated areas to lend a hand.
Lifestyle Pg. 14
Sports Grind it Out Lav’s sophomores lead Johnnies to first win
Sports Pg. 18
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Much of the destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy dealt with fallen trees around campus. According to the University, two oaks fell on the Great Lawn.
T Harrington speaks Briefs orch
Torch sits down with two men at heart of Chang trial Michael E. Cunniff Editor-in-Chief NICOLE VALENTE Managing Editor The month-long courtroom saga now behind them, the University president and general counsel decided they are ready to tell their side of the Cecilia Chang story. In exclusive, all-access interviews with the Torch, Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M., President of the University, and General Counsel Joe Oliva detailed the internal investigation that eventually led to her arrest — an investigation that they say started because of an incorrect date on a forged expense report. In addition, Harrington defended himself from what he termed “bizarre” reports in the city tabloids that said that he was the recipient of lavish gifts and hundreds of thousands of dollars from Chang, the late former Dean of Asian Students. “Some of the others things [reported] like $400,000 is just bizarre,” he said. “I testified that she gave me [money] on one occasion … for the poor and it was $2,000. I counted it the first time. It probably happened a total of 4 or 5 times.
“I didn’t count it and that’s why I “We started seeing documents couldn’t swear to it,” added Harrington, from the office of student work schedules who was a voluntary prosecution witness. for students to work in the homes “But it was $2,000. It could have been and reached the conclusion – we have less. I’m sure it wasn’t much more if an issue of students being mistreated,” anything.” he said. “Once we reached that conclusion Oliva said, contrary we took the to published reports, appropriate that an anonymous steps to letter written in deal with that Chinese that was sent issue. That to the University on package had Dec. 14, 2009 did nothing to do not spark the with student investigation of Chang. forced labor.“ The General Counsel’s Chang died office had already of an apparent started looking into suicide last Chang’s records after week while a routine audit in Oct. she nearing -Joe Oliva, General and Nov 2009 sparked the end of a suspicion, according to federal trial Counsel of the University. Oliva. for embezzling “A pretty astute money from internal auditor picks the school up on the transaction dates and notices a over a six-year period date of February 30 and a date of February from 2003 to 2009 and using students 31,” Oliva said, describing the red flag to whom she gave scholarships as that started the University investigation. her personal servants. Part of her In addition, Oliva said, the three- defense was that her contributions to to-four-page letter, written in Chinese the University were so great that she and part of a package containing 50 was owed the close to $1 million that pages of financial information, she allegedly stole throughout the only detailed financial fraud, not years. the forced labor allegations. Those surfaced in Oliva’s internal investigation, -Continued on pg. 5 he said.
A pretty astute internal auditor picks up on the transaction dates and notices a date of February 30 and a date of February 31.”
Students to sit in desks on Saturday Anthony O’Reilly News Editor
Saturday is typically a day of relaxation for most students. But that might change for some students in early December. The University announced this week that as part of its plan to make up classes missed due to Superstorm Sandy, some classes might be held on a Saturday. According to an email sent to faculty on Monday, and later sent to students on Tuesday, this is how the University plans for classes to be made up: - Monday/ Thursday classes that were missed due to Sandy will meet on Saturday, Dec. 8. Tuesday/Friday classes will meet on Friday, Dec. 7. That day originally was scheduled to be a “study day,” the typical day-off provided for students to prepare for finals. The extra days of classes were added on in order to address the missed classes during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. From Oct. 29-Nov. 2, all classes were cancelled, leaving the remainder of the schedule for the semester in disarray. On Nov. 12, Interim Provost Robert Mangione sent an email out to faculty members of the University, notifying them of the manner in which classes would be made up, per New York State Education Department (NYSED) regulations.
Originally, the email was not sent out to the general student body, relying on the faculty to alert their students of the changes. The Torch obtained a copy of the email and reported it on Twitter. In his exclusive interview with the Torch on Nov. 13, Fr. Donald J. Harrington, president of University, said he was not involved in the decision to hold class on Dec. 8, saying he left that to the provost’s office. Harrington seemed surprised that students were not directly contacted about the revised schedule. “I think it had to do with making sure the information was filtered through the faculty and that students and staff weren’t hearing two separate things,” added Joseph Oliva, St. John’s General Counsel. Later Tuesday, an email from the Registrar’s office was sent to the general student body alerting them of the changes to the schedule. Wednesday classes were not affected by the storm because they were not scheduled to meet that week. Graduate classes also were not assigned a makeup date, with the university announcing that any missed course work should be made up at the discretion of the professor. The final exam schedule remains unchanged for the time being, according to the email. Rescheduling classes that were missed due to Sandy was important, according to the email, to meet the hours necessary by state regulation. Therefore, the scheduled makeup days
of Dec. 7 and 8 are “considered to be a regular instruction period to comply with NYSED regulations for the awarding of credit.” It’s not clear yet how many professors plan to go through with the make-up classes rather than have students make up the missed time in other approved manners. But some students already know where they’ll be on Saturday, Dec. 8. Junior Tricia Murphy said she will be attending the Saturday class because a class project will be held that day. “My professor already told us we had to make it up in order to get the credit,” she said. Murphy said it wouldn’t be hard for her to get to class on a Saturday because she lives close to campus. But she believes a better solution would be for individual professors to assign make-up work. Professors also are adjusting the makeup schedule on the fly. Associate professor of English Tara Roeder said she did not design a makeup schedule for her class, and she was waiting on the advice of the administration first. Although Roeder’s class does not meet on Monday/Thursdays, she said she understood the need to hold class on the weekend. “I totally understand the need to comply with state mandates,” she said. “If I had to teach on a Saturday, I would try to make some sort of arrangement with students who had other obligations to make up the class on-line.”
Compiled by Anthony O’Reilly News Editor
Still no SGI budget Student Government, Inc. continues to ignore requests for a copy of its budget from the Torch, while repeating its promise to release its “financial report” sometime this semester, according to SGI President Christian Williams. The organization passed its budget unanimously on Sept. 10, after displaying the contents of its finances for about five minutes, and has since rebuffed requests by the Torch to see the budget in more detail. “I personally want to make it clear, that SGI is by no means trying to hold out on informing the student population on our decisions,” Williams said in an email. “Financial reports usually take companies 3-5 months to complete, and SGI is working to release our report much faster than that.”
Look out for Courtside The Torch will not be publishing a paper issue next week, Nov. 21. We will be back on Nov. 28 with the annual Torch basketball magazine, Courtside. The Torch will return on Dec. 5 with our last issue of the Fall 2012 semester.
2 weeks later: Sandy’s toll on St. John’s
School deals with fallen trees and downed power lines in aftermath of Sandy Anthony O’Reilly News Editor When Superstorm Sandy hit the Eastern seaboard on Oct. 29, many people found their lives uprooted by the massive damage the heavy rain and wind left behind. Those who remained on campus were most affected by fallen trees and loss of power in some buildings. Vice President of Public Safety Thomas Lawrence said the University was prepared for the storm. He said conference calls were held with top University officials in the days leading up to the storm to update everyone on the
latest forecast and their internal plan. Lawrence said he stayed at the school for the duration of the storm and into the afternoon the day after. “There was just a lot of wind, but not that much rain,” he said. “We’re high enough where there weren’t issues with flooding.” Experiences varied on campus. Junior Elaine Abou-Assi said her townhouse windows shook during the storm, her door flew open from the wind and power was lost. But sophomore Kim Javal, a resident of Century Hall, said her suite did not lose power and said she felt “bored” during the storm. Last week the University said the storm damage included: two oak trees falling on the Great Lawn and an off campus tree pulling down on a power line near Gate 6, causing outages to St. Albert’s and St. Vincent’s Hall. Lawrence said the two buildings were still currently running on a generator. Lawrence said power restoration to the two buildings depends on Con Ed now; he can only hope it comes back sometime soon. When it came to closing school, Lawrence said public safety informs the University community through text messages, phone calls and emails, but his unit is not solely responsible for deciding whether or not classes are held. Lawrence said public safety makes recommendations to the administration, which has the final say. One of the main reasons why classes remained off throughout the week was
Torch photo/ MOlly dies
Torch photo/ Kieran Lynch
A fallen tree lies outside of St. John’s Hall the day after Superstorm Sandy power outages on campus, Lawrence said. “We can’t have classes when the hallways and the stairways are dark,” he said. “A lot of the buildings had either complete or partial outages.” The University said last week in a press release that six generators were used to provide power to those parts of campus that were affected. Although Lawrence believes in retrospect that the University was as prepared as well as it could have been with the storm, he said several unexpected factors made things more difficult in the days following Sandy. “We were in good shape,” he said. “We had a plan and put it in effect. We were able to save some research that was going on in the labs [St. Albert’s Hall].”
Abou-Assi, the junior whose townhouse windows shook throughout the storm, added, “We were all really thankful that St. John’s was more safe than we expected.” Lawrence said in his 10 years at working at St. John’s, and previously working for the NYPD for 23 years, the aftermath of Sandy was unprecedented. The east coast got another dose of abnormal weather when winter storm Athena, a Nor’easter, which left behind several inches of snow. Lawrence said he placed a call to a meteorologist to see how much snow was to be expected to gauge whether school should be cancelled, but said in the end more fell then was expected. “What we got,” he said, “wasn’t what I was told we’d get.”
Manhattan campus shuts down for semester Shannon Luibrand Staff Writer
photo Courtesy of stjohns.edu
St. John’s Manhattan campus
Five days after Superstorm Sandy devastated parts of the metro area, residents of the Manhattan campus learned they would be displaced from their collegiate homes for the rest of the semester. In an email obtained by the Torch sent from the Manhattan campus Student Life to students, the cleanup and rebuilding process of the area surrounding that campus is expected to continue for months. “While the University will be working around the clock to bring the Murray Street campus back online, the semester will resume for Manhattan students on the Queens campus including classes, dining, activities, and housing as required,” the email said. Students were given two options when it came to living arrangements--they could choose to either live in Queens campus housing or receive a prorated refund of their room-and-board if they decided to live off-campus. Students were allowed to return to the Manhattan campus to retrieve their possessions on either Nov. 4 or 6. Gabriel Santacruz, a junior Manhattan resident student, said that it’s been a challenging few days between the damage Sandy wreaked on his home campus and then being relocated to the Queens campus. “I have been doing good,” Santacruz said. “Just depressed about having to be relocated. The entire experience was a nightmare.” Sanatacruz said he was pleased with
the Queens Campus Residence Life, saying he believes they have done the best they could given the emergency situation. But Santacruz added that he is frustrated with how the situation was handled by the University as a whole. “I feel like the Residence Directors have done the best they can with the
The Manhattan campus is more than a building. It is people’s homes and classrooms, a hub of activity by people who want to succeed, and for people to reside in while they try to make it big out there.
- Rosanna Chiu
resources they were given,” Santacruz said. “Manhattan campus students were just tossed in random buildings regardless of the conditions of the room. St. John’s I believe handled the situation carelessly.” The University held a “town hall” style meeting during common hour Nov. 8 and invited St. John’s Manhattan Residents to attend and express their concern about the entire situation. Santacruz said he was
unable to attend because he was helping a Manhattan resident move onto the Queens campus during that time. Rosanna Chiu, a junior, described the transition from Manhattan to Queens as extremely difficult and upsetting for her. “I haven’t felt human since I’d moved into Queens,” she said. “I don’t prefer the Queens life.” Chiu’s situation is troublesome because she works in Manhattan; she said she used to walk to work from the Manhattan campus. That’s obviously not possible anymore. “Basically, we have been torn away from our home, work, and the busy life we had established in the city,” she said. “Everything is less convenient now.” Chiu now lives in the Queens Residence Halls, saying she resides with roommates she didn’t even know a few weeks ago. It’s a big change from what her life was like prior to the storm. “The Manhattan campus is more than a building,” Chiu said. “It is people’s homes and classrooms, a hub of activity by people who want to succeed, and for people to reside in while they try to make it big out there.”
Were you affected by the evacuation of the Manhattan campus because of Superstorm Sandy? Write a letter to our Editor-in-Chief at torcheic@ gmail.com or tweet at us @STJTORCH
Q&A: Father Harrington
In break from Chang, Pres. talks conference realignment and his 5-year plan Torch Editorial Board
Torch: In a normal period, what does your daily schedule look like? Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M.: I spend a lot of time working with my direct reports so that’s the chief academic officer, the provost [Robert Mangione], it’s the chief operating officer [Martha Hirst]. Dealing with Joe [Oliva] on legal things. You’d be surprised with what his desk looks like. Fundraising and fundraising strategies. We bring in about $20 million a year in fundraising and so Rob Wile, who’s also my chief of staff, I spend a good bit of time with him strategizing and talking about approaches. Athletics also comes under Rob. Athletics takes a lot of decision-making and discussions at times. Enrollment management —to make sure you have the freshman class you need, to make sure it’s the quality you want it to be. Strategic planning. Shaping what is your three-to-five year plan, how are you going to get there, what are the strategies [and] the indicators to measure your outcome to be where you want to be. Kind of a separate piece is law school… we’re very much involved there. Student Life, admission — Father Maher deals with those. It’s a little easier with Fr. Maher because we live together. We don’t do a lot of business at home. The Board of Trustees — That’s the governance body. Barely a week passes where I’m not talking to the chair. Of the board or chairs of the different committees. There are many committees. Committee meetings. Preparing for board meetings. Then it’s going out for the lunches and the dinners for raising the money. It’s hosting dinners at home. Hosting dinners here. That’s how my day is consumed. T: What has your role been in the ongoing Big East conference realignment saga? DH: I’ve had a significant role because I’m the longest serving Big East president. I keep trying to say the younger people should play a bigger role. I think it’s always good to pass it on to the next generation. Right now, I believe that, from our perspective, the Big East is what it’s going to stay. That does not mean that Louisville or a UConn or a Rutgers couldn’t surprise us. But I sense no appetite among the basketball schools to break off and go their own way. I know there’s also a rumor that the ACC has approached us. I haven’t
gotten any calls. I haven’t heard anything about that at all. And I’m not sure what we would do. We would really have to take a hard look. Right now, I would say we’re committed to the Big East totally. As is Georgetown and all the other basketball schools. I don’t know the football schools as well. I think we have a good product and I think the new commissioner is a star. I like the organization he’s put together. My hope is that when the television contract is completed and announced people will say, ‘wow the Big East is going to be around a while.’ I really think there’s a very good future for it. T: Was it ever a possibility that basketball would break off?
of St. John’s. I think that’s only going to continue. This freshman class was stronger academically than last year’s. And last year’s was stronger academically than the year before. I think a number of things we’re doing, especially — you probably know it — we’re doing a major, major investment in career placement. You know, one of the things we spent time on last year planning, is students have to know the cost of tuition becomes more and more of a question, they have to know that there’s a value in the diploma they’re getting. How do they measure that? A lot of times, it’s jobs. It really is. And so we’re saying we have to put much more into career placement to
really enhance that whole operation, you probably know where it’s going to CCK [Chiang Ching Kuo Hall]. You know CCK, right outside the D’Angelo Center? That building is going to be career placement. And they’re also going to be at 3 of the schools, [they’re] going to have people right in their deans’ offices. By the time you’re coming in as a freshman, you’ll be getting help for where you’re going to be when you get out. We’re investing an awful lot in technology. We used to be in the forefront. We’re not now. We’re going to be again. It’s really looking at what are the things that are most important for our students and how do we bring the institution there? I think we’re going to be stronger than we are now.
DH: It was. It was never talked about as a group. T: How do you see St. John’s shaping up in the new Big East? DH: I am optimistic about the future of the Big East. My biggest concern is the strength of the basketball. Who can we take into the Garden and fill it? That’s the question, because that’s part of our excitement. To bring people into the Garden, some of the schools there’s just no way we could play them there. I think it’s 10,000 we need in the Garden to break even. 9,000 or 10,000. Anything above that is gravy. That’s the old contract. T: What’s your relationship with Student Government, Inc.? DH: I meet with them once a month for a luncheon meeting, and the agenda is theirs. Sometimes I have things I want to bring up to them, but basically they set up the agenda; they talk about what they want to talk about and one of the things I always ask about is — how’s the student morale? What’s the temperature? The change cards they give out —tell me about the change cards. They always give me a report on the change cards. What are the significant issues at a given time? That’s once a month, religiously, that we get together. T: Where do you see St. John’s in five years? DH: I don’t think there’s anyone whom I speak to that doesn’t, not just says to me but says to others that St. John’s has in grown leaps and bounds — not only in numbers, though it has, but in the quality and perception of the public perception JESSE WARD/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Harrington and Oliva on Chang investigation, gifts -Continued from pg. 3
However, Oliva dismissed those claims as Chang trying to build a defense against the school, and noted that her professed evidence that she gave $400,000 in cash to Harrington was not admissible in court. “She was trying to develop a defense… [which] was that the institution in some way owed her a million dollars,” Oliva said. “She testified that she had to spend $300,000 on [her personal] credit card to pay for expensive trips overseas. She never used that credit card to pay for any expenses overseas related to travel” Flanked by Oliva during the 40 minute interview with The Torch, Harrington, 67,
explained — as he did in his testimony last month — that his reluctance to challenge Chang when it came to the gifts she and her fundraisers bestowed on him was due to his trusting nature. “Was there any reason to doubt?” Harrington said. “The bad news about people stealing money from institutions or corporations is if they want to they can do it. The good news is if there are proper controls in place you’re going to uncover it.” Harrington defended the muchmaligned trips to Hawaii he took — on the advice of the board of trustees — saying that he considered them to be part of his work schedule.
He therefore had no problem reconciling it with the “vow of poverty” he took as a Vincentian priest. “I’d have to say, I never really thought of that perception,” he said. The trips to Asia, which were highlighted by stays at posh hotels, according to testimony, were not something that Harrington looked forward to, and he said he viewed the Hawaii trip as a recovery stop. “I looked upon that as part of the work trip,” he said of the Hawaii stopover. “You stop, you rest up so you can be in better shape when you get back. I didn’t look upon this as ‘I’m taking a vacation.’ Priest or not, it didn’t matter a whole lot
as far as I saw it. This was so I could be more effective when I came back ... So I don’t think the priest thing really comes into that, most priests don’t travel to Asia.” “Would I do it again?” he asked rhetorically. “Well, I’m not going to Asia again.”
Follow the Torch for live updates on events and breaking news. @STJTORCH
Editorial Board XC
MICHAEL E. CUNNIFF Editor-in-Chief
NICOLE VALENTE Managing Editor JESSICA LISE General Manager ANTHONY O’REILLY News Editor
FLAMES OF THE TORCH
Transparency in SGI, part VI
Student Government, Inc’s continued refusal to release its budget and its evasion of questions regarding it borders on absurd. Numerous emails have been sent to Christian Williams, SGI president, asking for a release date for the budget. Each time, he has responded with an evasive answer and a reference to a “financial report.” It’s not the same thing. Too many things don’t add up when it comes to SGI’s rhetoric to us compared to what its members tell other people for us to trust an airbrushed fi-
nancial report. To Williams and the rest of SGI — release the budget, down to the Excel spreadsheet, warts and all. Even if people don’t like what’s in it, it’s better than the speculation that has ensued because of your secrecy. The fact that SGI is technically independent shouldn’t matter — the organization still uses money from students, and thus should be accountable to them. If not, students shouldn’t be forced to give money to a socalled “independent” organization as a condition of attendance at St. John’s.
Sandy and St. John’s
Superstorm Sandy put a huge strain on the University and its disaster, especially when it came to taking care of its resident students. For the most part, St. John’s did a good job of keeping its students safe. Things like the @STJNow twitter feed tweeting about scheduled events that were obviously cancelled were annoying, but in the grand scheme of things, nothing more than that. The University’s delivery of food to Henley residents deserves recognition, and its rapid relocation of Manhattan campus students to residence halls in Queens was executed about as well as could be expected, given the short notice. However, the school made a few head-scratching decisions that made the ordeal worse on students. First and foremost was failing to cancel class more than one day in advance. While it was obvious that we wouldn’t have class for a long time, St. John’s needlessly kept its student on edge, waiting for the inevitable text message. Secondly, the suspension of overnight guest privileges was misguided at
best, and had the potential to put students in danger. What about commuter students, or students who live off-campus that lost power, or suffered great damage to their homes? Instead of encouraging them to stay with their classmates, the school effectively left them to fend for themselves. Liability concerns are obvious, but could easily have been mitigated by only allowing St. John’s students in the dorms. And as responsible as the University was through most of the storm, it undid all that by not canceling class after the nor’easter hit last Wednesday. Even the most hardened Upstate New Yorker had a tough time maneuvering through the storm, and most roads near school were in no shape to be driven on. We understand the school’s reluctance to cancel yet another day, but safety has to be the first priority, no matter the time. In such extraordinary circumstances, sticking to ordinary and rigid regulations in the name of liability and cancellation policies fails to properly serve the students that the school has a moral responsibility to assist.
TORCH ILLUSTRATION/ WONKABAR WATTS WALKER
STUDENTSPARKS: WHAT ARE DO YOU YOUTHINK OF WATCHING BIEBER AND THE SELENA’S DEBATE? BREAKUP?
Mia Katie Henriquez Pruneda Graduate Freshman Student
Analissa ConnorWoolford Quinn Junior
“They broke up? going I heardtoit “I’m probably somewhere but I thought go to the gym they were joking so I just instead.” brushed it off.”
“I’m upset “I’m goingbecause to be inthey’re class, cute for each other. They but I’ll definitely check out make a really good fit tothe highlights afterward.” gether.”
Nicole Oliver Justin Alick Junior Freshman “I’ll watch it. It’s going
Marc Speed Mecca Griffith Junior “I’m goingJunior to be watching it
Editorials are the opinions of the Editorial Board of The TORCH. Columns are the opinions of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of The TORCH. Opin-
ions expressed in editorials, columns, letters or cartoons are not necessarily those of the student body, faculty or administrations of St. John’s University.
TO CONTRIBUTE Mail letters to: The TORCH, St. John’s University 8000 Utopia Parkway, Jamaica, NY 11439 Submit letters via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please include your full name, year, and college (or department). Letters have a limit of 500 words and may be edited for content, grammar, or space. Unverifiable or anonymous letters will not be published. All letters are subject to the approval of the Editorial Board of The TORCH.
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Latinos paving the way for others What a difference a week makes. Last week, the Republican party was the party of xenophobes, women-haters and religious intolerant “Christians” who fail to recognize the founding principles of the U.S. This week, you can cross xenophoboes off that list. In wake of President Obama’s convincing Electoral College victory, propelled in no small part by a nearly three-to-one advantage among Latinos, bellwether conservative commentators like Sean Hannity and Charles Krauthammer have suddenly seen the light when it comes to immigration reform. No longer do they want to kick the 11plus million undocumented immigrants (or, in their lingo as of Nov. 6, “illegal aliens”) out of the country. Not when there are Latino votes at stake. Suddenly, the GOP’s rhetoric on immigration matches the Democrats — a pathway to citizenship for those who are here, plus strong enforcement mechanisms on both people that come to the U.S. illegally and businesses that hire undocumented workers. It’s what the Democrats have been pushing for years, and what the vast majority of
Republicans (with exceptions like George W. Bush and his brother Jeb Bush, as well as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio) have blasted as “amnesty.” It also means that now both parties have an incentive to cooperate on comprehensive immigration reform — something that couldn’t be said even nine days ago. I don’t know what to make of this sudden transformation. I don’t know whether to celebrate the sudden shift to reason by many on the right, or to laugh at their nakedly ambitious “evolving” positions. At this point, it seems as if the goal of the Republicans is to take back Congress and the presidency, and figure out what to do with it once they do it later. But at another level, I’m heartened by the abandonment of one of the more appalling platforms of the Republican party. It’s one area in which the GOP seems to be moving into the 21st century. Their motivation for this is nothing more than naked partisan
ambition, but it’s still good for the country nonetheless. Republicans are shifting their attitudes on immigration because the group affected by its backwards thinking (Latinos), punished them at the polls. Realizing that they won’t be viable as a national party if they continue to alienate Latinos, Republicans “evolved” on their thinking when it came to the main issue affecting that group. If other groups that Republicans persecute, like gays, Muslims and women who want to have the option to choose how to take care of their bodies, want to force the GOP’s hand when it comes to policy, they have to do as their Latino brethren, and abandon the party. Unfortunately, when it comes to the gay community and Muslims, they’ve already done that — they just don’t have the same influential demographics as Hispanics. But women are starting to abandon the Republicans en masse, especially single women. All the single ladies voted for
At this point, it seems as if the goal of the Republicans is to take back Congress and the presidency, and figure out what to do with it once they do it later.
Obama, well at least 67 percent of them did, and they comprised 25 percent of the electorate. It’d be disrespectful – not to mention wrong – to say that they voted for Obama because of social issues — exit polls suggested that the slow-butsteady economic recovery was the main reason – but it’d be naïve to suggest that Republican comments on rape and contraception had no role in their collective Obama vote. If their defection from the Republican party continues, the GOP will struggle to remain relevant, unless they change tack on women’s issues like they did with immigration. Until then, the electoral map will continue to turn bluer and bluer. While that might make my liberal heart flutter in anticipation, it probably isn’t the best thing for the country. What’s best for the country is two strong, viable and reasonable political parties, with clear distinctions yet a willingness to compromise on important issues. Last week, Latinos helped force on party in that direction on one issue. Let’s hope that, in the future, other groups do the same.
Michael E. Cunniff is a senior journalism major who wants to shout out Susan Meyer, who doesn’t get offended when he calls her by her first name. He can be reached at email@example.com
Even a Brit campaigned in Ohio! HARRY SAUNDERS Staff Writer
Every four years, the US presidential election comes to dominate media coverage on not simply a national, but a global scale. All over the world, people are glued to their television screens as election night plays itself out, and the next leader of the free world is selected. Why is it that US presidential elections have such a global reach? After all, this is not a particularly new development, as knowledge of US politics is seen almost as a prerequisite in many other countries of the world. America’s long-standing superpower status plays a part, but on some level it appears that the bravado of the whole affair, facilitated by the injection of vast sums of money unthinkable of in other parts of the world, means that the rest of the world takes a voyeuristic pleasure in the long and sometimes arduous process of the campaign. In terms of differences between U.S. elections and those in my home country, the United Kingdom, there are plenty. In spite of the strong cultural and political ties between the two nations, the way in which our leaders are selected is not particularly comparable. A different parliamentary system, in that we do not elect our head of state (because that is the queen), is an important aspect, in that it is difficult to compare two technically contrasting systems, but
the previously mentioned financial aspect is perhaps the most telling difference. Open Secrets, a website devoted to disclosing the money spent within the world of politics, estimated at the end of October that spending on the 2012 presidential race would reach $6 billion, outstripping the next most expensive election by more than $700 million. In some ways this is understandable, the US is a far larger country than the UK, both in terms of population and landmass, and in the UK, political advertising on television and radio is prohibited. But regardless, the levels of money spent in the US, particularly in the wake of the muchmaligned Citizens United ruling, have attracted much criticism, and many find the levels expended to be perverse. In the days leading up to the election, I managed to gain first hand experience of the American political system for the first time. Like a majority of Europeans, I supported President Obama. I displayed this support by knocking on doors and
making phone calls for almost a week in the hope of increasing voter turnout in Cleveland, Ohio, a key battleground state. The experience was incredible, and I could not help but be impressed by the level to which people of all socioeconomic backgrounds engaged with the election, and exercised their democratic right to go out and vote on Nov. 6. Even those that I disagreed with were kind and willing to hear me out, and the experience was nothing but enlightening and rewarding. Of course, the outcome of the election was fantastic from my perspective, as the hard work that me and my peers had put in on the ground had finally paid off, but ultimately I felt as if I learnt to know the United States better as a country from the time I spent in the Midwest. The opportunity to talk to new people and visit a place I wouldn’t normally was priceless, and to be able to compare the political system I have lived under for the majority of my life to another was an instructive and informative
I could not help but be impressed by the level to which people of all socioeconomic backgrounds engaged with the election.
experience. It’s something that I will never forget, and a chance I was incredibly fortunate to be able to take advantage of. Ultimately I am certain that it will forever go some way to defining the year that I spent studying abroad here at St John’s.
Harry Saunders is an international student from London, England
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Bruce, Gas shortage affects NY area Bon Jovi, Blige unite for Sandy STUDENS STRUGGLE TO FIND OPEN STATIONS WITHOUT MAJOR WAITS
KIERAN LYNCH Features Editor
For Rob Delsignore, a junior commuter student, returning to school on Nov. 5 was no easy task. In order to make his way to campus, he had to leave behind his normal mode of car transportation for a crowded LIRR train. Without easily accessible gasoline, his car was useless and unfortunately for him, public transportation wasn’t much better. “It was different, I’ve never had to take the train [to school] before,” Delsignore said. “I had to take the LIRR to the Peter Pan bus. It was complicated, but thankfully, now I’m driving again.” Superstorm Sandy left a region typically reliant on gasoline crippled in its wake. During the storm, the port in New York was closed for the safety of ship crews and as a result, all oil deliveries ceased. Coupled with a lack of power at most gas stations, long lines formed at the few stations functioning. “I was lucky,” junior Jon Perez said. “I used my dad’s van to get to school. Eventually I had to get gas for my car, which meant getting up at 4:45 the morning of Election Day and waiting six hours for gas.” Shortly after the storm, New Jersey Gov. Christie signed an executive order to help ration the amount of gas. The order permitted people to purchase gasoline depending on the numbers on their license plate. Residents with a license plate ending in an odd number or letter could fill up on odd days, while those with an even number would be limited to even days. “As New Jerseyans continue the long process of recovering from Hurricane Sandy, it’s imperative that our families have secure, reliable access to essential
On Friday, Nov. 2, NBC brought together a handful of celebrities with one thing in common; their hometowns and their citizens had been affected by the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. With the power of those celebrities’ music and voices, the “Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together” telethon, held at NBC Studios in 30 Rockefeller Plaza, raised around $23 million for the Red Cross’ relief efforts for victims in need. Christina Aguilera, a Staten Island native, opened the telethon with an emotional performance of her popular song “Beautiful” off her fourth album Stripped. She was followed by Sayreville, N.J. native Jon Bon Jovi who performed the hits “Who PHOTO COURTESY OF JIM BAUMBACH Says You Can’t Go Home?” and “Livin’ on A police officer keeps watch over a gasoline line in Lindenhurst, NY. a Prayer.” Perhaps one of the most poignant supplies like fuel,” Christie said in a state- drivers can purchase gas.” performances of the night came from Long ment. While the restrictions have been Island’s favorite son, Billy Joel. Following New Jersey’s lead, Mayor implemented in New York City and Long Joel played a cut off his classic 1974 Bloomberg announced restrictions starting Island for six days, the lines have not disalbum Turnstiles, “Miami 2017 on Nov. 9 to help alleviate the lines. sipated. (Seen the Lights Go Out on “Only 25 percent of gas stations are “I’m able to get to school now with the Broadway),” which includes open,” Bloomberg said “Drivers are still little gas I have,” Delsignore said. “But harrowingly accurate lines such as, “they facing long lines. Frustrations are only I don’t know how long this will last and said that Queens could stay, they blew the growing. The best way to help customers if it’s too much longer, I may find myself Bronx away, and sank Manhattan out at buy gas faster is to alternate the days that back on the train.” sea.” The Hicksville section of Long Island, where Joel grew up, is still predominantly without power almost two weeks after the storm hit the Northeast. After Joel’s solo performance, he was joined by “Late Night” host Jimmy Fallon, Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler and Bruce Springsteen to perform The Drifter’s classic single “Under the Boardwalk,” an homage to the historic boardwalks of New Jersey that were washed away by Sandy’s powerful surges. Actress Tina Fey, “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams and “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart presented the performers. Stewart, a Trenton, N.J. native, became emotionally choked up as he uttered the statement, “this telethon is about the people, and they’re the best I’ve ever known.” Following performances from Aerosmith, Sting and Mary J. Blige, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street put on a stirring performance of “Land of Hope and Dreams,” a fitting end to an emotional and successful night. The telethon was organized and hosted by the “Today” show’s Matt Lauer who first introduced Bon Jovi while Springsteen and Joel followed suit. “Come Together” was broadcast across multiple television networks and streamed live on web platforms. NBC had also put together successful telethons and concerts after Hurricane KaPHOTO COURTESY OF NBC.COM trina in 2005 and the Haiti earthquake in 2010. Coming Together brought Jimmy Fallon, Steven Tyler and Bruce Springsteen to raise money for the Red Cross.
CNN wins Election Night coverage battle FOX NEWS AND MSNBC’S COVERAGE TOOK SECOND AND THIRD RESPECTIVELY
Times Square into a free outdoor viewing of the election night. CNN also took control over the lights of the Empire State Building and illumiThe 2012 presidential election gave the nated its spire with competing red and blue American public more than a few choices electoral bars and Fox News displayed the when it came to watching the results as results on screens. the night unfolded. While all televiThese choices insion networks comcluded major netpeted for viewers via works such as NBC, their elaborate disCNN, MSNBC and plays, the main focus Fox News. was still on the conThis time, the tent of the news and Total viewers (7 p.m.- 2 a.m.) networks made sure results. to connect with its When election audience through night concluded, more than just on many television critscreen reporting. ics and pundits said NBC used its that most networks headquarters at stayed balanced but Rockefeller Centhere were still a few ter as a display that usual suspects that featured election rewere accused of havsults on a huge map ing a bias toward one ofd the U.S. that candidate. Fox News was illustrated on blamed Romney’s PHOTO COURTESY OF 2.TBO.COM the ice skating rink, loss on biased fact Brian Williams led NBC’s coverage, which finished first among broadcast networks. where the states checkers and New turned either blue Jersey Gov. Chris Of the 13 networks that aired live cov- were CBS News and Fox News. or red when a canChristie’s praise of erage of the results, NBC managed to bring This year may have not been didate won. In adPresident Barack in 12 million viewers. Fox News placed popular for television networks due to dition, red and blue Obama’s handling of second in the rankings with 11.45 million the fact that social mebanners representthe response to Hur- viewers while ABC garnered 10.52 million dia sites such as Twitter and ing the electoral votes rose up, on the front ricane Sandy. viewers. Facebook, continue to see membership of the Rockefeller building. Even before election night, MSNBC Despite the high number of viewers, numbers increase and they tell the same NBC wasn’t the only network that en- was accused of being biased because they the election four years ago brought in story in real time. More than 330,000 tertained New Yorkers. The news special had aired negative news segments on approximately five million more. The only tweets a minute regarding the election were “Your Voice, Your Vote 2012,” transformed Romney. networks that increased their viewership sent, breaking a social media record.
DESTINY DEJESUS Staff Writer
¬½Ä ĲÃ¾È½º¹ ĲÇÈÉ CNN 8,836,000
FOX News 7,708,000 MSNBC 4,604,000
St. John’s community helps to rebuild SARAH YU
Chief Copy Editor
TORCH PHOTO/ ALEXANDER ARPAG
A St. John’s student helps at a donation site in Far Rockaway, NY.
St. John’s students have been supporting those affected by Superstorm Sandy by holding fundraising events, organizing and planning service trips to the hardest-hit parts of New York. Many of these trips were announced via email from STJ Service and many students went to with various cleaning endeavors. St. John’s held a fundraiser, the first of many events, through Java Johnnies where $120 was raised to send to people impacted by the hurricane. There was an open mic session and live music was provided. It was hosted by the Student Governments of all three St. John’s campuses and seven students from all three campuses performed. Junior Jason Lapin was one of the performers of the event and felt honored to be a part of it. “It definitely felt more like something I had to do, something with more meaning than just a typical performance,” he said. “It was another way to try and help the disaster relief, and it was beautiful because I never thought I’d be able to play music to try and help people survive after such devastation.” This past weekend, juniors Sophia Markowska and Adrian Tovar went to Breezy Point and helped by folding and organizing clothes. “Overall, it was a humbling experience,” Markowska said. “I was also very shocked at how impacted Long Island was; I saw the picture of the aftermath of the hurricane but I had no clue that two weeks after it hit, the devastation would be so visible.” “Honestly, I would have wanted to do much more, like help clean outside and
deal with damage,” Tovar said. “This experience impacted me in a different way; it was more of a realization that every little bit counts no matter what it is.” Senior Peter Barker also went on the trip, but was assigned to serve at the Rockaways. He found it to be an eye-opening service experience, compared to the others he’s participated in. “I’ve done a lot of service through St. John’s and I’ve had a lot of great experiences but immediately after this one, I realized this was one of the more gratifying service experiences I’ve done because while I was doing it, there was such a drive,” he said. “The energy was just coming from within everyone and I thought it was really incredible because everyone was just working together. Andrea Pinnavaia, a campus minister and a professor, described what the purpose of the mass was. “So many people were affected by the hurricane in so many different ways, but not only do we gather to remember these people and to pray for them, but we also gather to give thanks for those of us who have our health and remain safe during the storm,” she said. “We’re going to gather as a community at 12:15 on Thursday to pray and to give thanks and to be a community, which is what we do here.” Even the favorite watering hole of St. John’s students, Tradition’s Pub, hosted a storm relief event, where all proceeds of the minimum $10 entry donation went to charity. Campus Ministry has been redirecting people to Catholic Charities, where students can find more opportunities to get involved and to donate. They can also send an email of interest to STJ Service at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meek Mill’s dark debut triumphs DARNYCYA SMITH Staff Writer MEEK MILL Dreams and Nightmares
OUT OF 5 STARS
Imagine being young and dealing with the murder of several loved ones before having your greatest dreams of success come true. That same feeling is what Robert Williams, known by his stage name Meek Mill, recalls on his debut album Dreams and Nightmares. Philadelphia native and Maybach Music Group’s protege released his debut album Dreams and Nightmares on Halloween Day. With a background as a veteran of rap battles and mixtapes, today, being a mainstream artist, his fans wondered which direction he would lean toward in this album. To the surprise of many, he blended both sounds of rap battles and mixtapes into an amazing debut. Meek Mill is known to rap about his success, money, cars and girls, but his secret weapon is rapping about his past and what he witnessed growing up in the streets of Philadelphia and the pain it caused him. On the first two tracks, Dreams and
Nightmares and “In God We Trust” he raps about the joy and importance of being in the position that he is in and his success; with the beat of the former making a seamless switch from easy to tough midway through the song, and Mill’s flow switches from calm to insane to match it, and it has insured his fans that they were going to enjoy the ride. With joy comes pain and Mill has the talent to be able to discuss both subjects. “Traumatized” is an open letter to the murderer of his father and an explanation of his desire to seek revenge. He also raps about his aunt being murdered and his friends being in prison. On “Who You’re Around,” featuring R&B diva Mary J. Blige, he raps about disloyalty among friends once he made it big. Critics questioned if Mill could breakout successfully in the mainstream, but with the release of Dreams and Nightmares, he most definitely proved that he could. “I don’t really try to focus on what critics say,” Mill said in an interview with MTV News. “The worst thing that critics said is [that] I have a long way to go. I just do what I do for my fans and keep my fans comfortable and happy and just vibe from there.” The storytelling that goes on throughout the album is what hip-hop is missing. He is able to paint a picture with his words. After a listen to Dreams and Nightmares, his fans will be able to feel closer to him more than they did before because of his vivid details of the nightmares that occurred in the past before his dreams came true.
PHOTO COURTESY OF FARNART.TV
Meek Mill tell tales of his traumatic upbringning on his album Dreams and Nightmares.
First Listen: Ne-Yo, Andrew Bird KORI WILLIAMS Staff Writer NE-YO R.E.D.
OUT OF 5 STARS
The smooth sultry voice of Ne-Yo returned on Nov. 6 in the form of fifth studio album R.E.D. With this effort, the Las Vegas native takes a step in a different direction and tries out a few new elements. R.E.D., which stands for “Realizing Every Dream,” has an extremely personal feel. The song “Cracks in Mr. Perfect” sees Ne-Yo open up as he expresses how there are flaws in the public’s perception of him. He is not the perfect man people make him out to be. The verses talk about him being sexually irresponsible and chasing women around when he was supposed to be working on his music. One lyric in the bridge of the song sums it up nicely: “I’m a man of my word but only when I ain’t lying”. This song serves as a R.E.D.’s powerful preamble. Ne-Yo certainly does deliver on the love songs he’s known so well for. Those
songs include “Lazy Love,” which talks about just wanting to spend a little extra time with that special someone, and “Miss Right,” which sees the narrator focus on finding that special someone in the most unexpected of places. One unique twist on this album is the collaboration with country rock artist Tim McGraw. The song “She Is” has a soft, light guitar behind the vocals that gives it a slight country twang without over doing it. While Ne-Yo has done collaborations with a number of artists in the past, he has never done one with a country artist. McGraw’s voice brings a compelling element to the song that also adds excellent context to the album itself. There’s a little bit of everything on this record. Ne-Yo does an excellent job of mixing tempos and moods in order to keep the listener involved and interested. Overall, the record has a slow and smooth R&B feel, but songs like “Unconditional” and “Let’s Go” are up-tempo and easy to move to. “Alone With You (Maddie’s Song)” and “Lazy Love” on the other hand have a slower pace and are easier on the ears. In general, not much of what is on the album is completely different from Ne-Yo’s past works. There are a few pieces that add a new dimension to his resume and it’s clear that he took a lot of time trying new things, but he sticks to what he’s good at and he does it well.
ANNMARIE TURTON Staff Writer
ANDREW BIRD Hands of Glory
OUT OF 5 STARS
Some would say that Hands of Glory, Andrew Bird’s latest album, is the one that’s his breakthrough because of its critical acclaim. In reality, it seems that Bird has been steadily progressing with each album since the start of his career. But here, it seems that he has stalled without completely going downhill. Despite being part of a mediocre side project called Bowl of Fire, Bird used his failures to reinvent himself and his music career. Since his last album, the self-produced Break it Yourself, Bird has evolved as an artist and his metamorphosis is well documented on this record. Some are calling Hands of Glory the companion to Break It Yourself so Bird clearly didn’t break the mold that served him so well for his last album. And to be honest, he didn’t. But Bird still manages to convey to whoever listens to the album that
he is a well-rounded musician in all facets and genres. The first track on the album is “Three White Horses,” which paints a simple story of loss with little to no help from the outside world. It utilizes Bird’s voice, his percussion and his impressive musicianship to eloquently tell his personal story. The next track, “When that Helicopter Comes,” has a bluesy, ‘70s power pop feel. Its slow and easy feel coincides with the folksy “Railroad Bill.” Accompanied by Birds’ violin background, “Bill” details adventures of traveling and life on the rails. “If I Needed” deals with love and wanting to be there for the one you love and vice versa. It’s the coolest and by far the most intimate song on the album. Hands of Glory is an interesting album. It’s comprised of not only calming and interesting music that Bird has been known for, but it contains reworked songs from previous albums and obscure covers dug up from the underground of indie with a little bit of country and folk sprinkled in. Overall, the album is worth buying and listening to, because it is music at its finest: raw, untouched, and simply beautiful. Andrew Bird has a gem on his hands with Hands of Glory. Can’t get enough of the Torch? Visit our Web site for online exclusives. torchonline.com
This week in showbiz
Resident students deal with storm POWER OUTAGES, LACK OF CLASSES SOME OF ISSUES ON CAMPUS MARION GENDRON Contributing Writer
Beatles vinyl reissues spawn pop-up stores Pop-up stores on wheels sprouted in Los Angeles and New York yesterday, selling exclusively the re-issues of The Beatles studio discography onto its original vinyl LP format, the New York Times reports. Along with the Fab Four’s 12 studio albums being sold separately and in a box set, both Past Masters compilations were included in the re-issuing as well. The box set also includes an unreleased 252-page book containing rare photos and liner notes that will only be sold in the pop-up stores. Capitol Records reissued the 12-inch LPs just three years after re-releasing and re-mastering the entire Beatles catalog on CD. The CD format last saw re-mastering when the catalog was first released on CD in 1987
Blink-182 to record new music in 2013
TORCH PHOTO/ MOLLY DIES
During Superstorm Sandy, St. John’s students on the Queens campus dealt with damage, school closure and displaced peers. Damages to the residence halls included power outages, water issues and a prolonged disruption of normalcy. For some, nine days of a closed campus proved to be a bore. But the activities put on by Resident Life in DaSilva Hall allowed Kendra Spencer-Cole and Bryonna Gutierrez to become closer with the people in their hall. “My R.A.’s set up things to do from 8am to 10pm; we watched movies, there was a talent show in DaSilva,” Gutierrez said. “I never knew what all these people could do.” Despite the treacherous weather, students felt safe in their dorms. “It was pretty good,” Spencer-Cole said. “[Campus] was basically empty and we had everything we needed.” The University delivered two meals a day to residents of off-campus housing on Henley Road from on-campus dining. The meals counted as two meal exchanges. The residents there were pleased with the result. “It was like we were in a little bubble,” junior Vince Ruffino said. “It was a surreal experience watching the damage without feeling the effects of it.”
However, Ruffino felt that there was a lack of communication between resident students and administration. Another student, from St. Vincent’s Hall agreed. “Not only did we not have power, but they didn’t tell us anything,” Chris Zimmerman said. “They could have kept us better informed. It wasn’t until the day I left to home to California [on Nov. 12] that they offered us another place to live.” Two other St. Vincent residents, Shannon Kennedy and John Carleton, felt that St. John’s did the best they could, under the circumstances. St. Vincent’s Hall receives its electricity and water from St. Albert’s Hall, which lost power the night of the storm. Personnel from Public Safety were patrolling the dormitory ever since. “There are no fire alarms, that’s why I’m still here,” an officer at the front desk at St. Vincent’s said. The building lost electricity for two days and has experienced outages from the generator for ten days. At one point, the water was dark and cloudy. “No, just be observant,” the officer said when asked if the residents should take particular caution. “Everyone’s handling it pretty well, other places are worse.” These “worse” areas included Staten Island and Manhattan, where St. John’s has two other campuses. Those students were relocated to Queens during the storm. Since then, the Staten Island students have returned but Manhattan students will remain to live and study in Queens for the remainder of the semester.
After splitting with Interscope Records, their label of 15 years, Blink-182 announced that they will be recording a new album that they will start in February of next year, according to the NME. “The reasons for us not working together are many, but mostly we wish them luck,” said bassist Mark Hoppus in an interview with MTV News. “We’ve been holding our breath waiting for final word from the attorneys that our contract with Interscope had ended.” That album will follow up 2011’s Neighborhoods, the band’s sixth studio album. Prior to that the band had been broken since 2005 after the departure of guitarist Tom DeLonge, he went on to form the pop-punk contingent Angels and Airwaves.Interscope distributed the poppunk band’s six studio including the 1999’s Enema of State, the band’s breakthrough album.
Amazon releases Top Ten Books of 2012
Amazon announced on Monday its list of Ten Best Books of 2012, the first best of list of a year that’s rapidly wrapping up. Louise Erdich’s uplifting Native American tale “The Round House” claimed the top spot followed by “The Yellow Birds written by Kevin Powers.” Powers, an Iraq War veteran who served as a machine gunner during his tour of duty, is on the short list for the Guardian First Book Award, one of the most distinct honors in fiction and non-fiction writing. “Morality,” written by the late author Christopher Hitchens, and “The Fault in Our Stars” written by John Green rounded out the top ten.
TORCH PHOTO/ MOLLY DIES
Campus workers remove a downed tree from outside St. John Hall following Superstorm Sandy.
STJ TALKS ABOUT THE DEVASTATION EXPERIENCED DURING SANDY Daniel Heffernan, Sophomore, Long Beach, New York
My basement was submerged in about four feet of water, which pretty much wrecked whatever was in there: tools, mattresses, the washing machine, etc. We consider ourselves comparitively lucky though, since the house next to us was condemned. Over the past week or so, we’ve been draining the basement, throwing things out. We aren’t able to afford flood insurance, so in the future we’ll just keep less things in the basement.
Rob Delsignore, Junior, Williston Park, New York I was watching TV and then the power went out. The first couple of days were fine, hanging out and playing board games. After that, the food went bad and we had spent enough money on dry ice. Then the snow storm happened and without heat that was unbearable.
Korrie Bauer, Junior, Point Please, New Jersey Hurricane Sandy left a huge mark on my hometown in New Jersey, ripping apart the boardwalk and destroying many homes. The aftermath storm is still affecting thousands two weeks after it arrived. Even though the destruction is massive both in New Jersey and New York, it’s good to see celebrities from the area doing their part to help “Restore the Shore” and the surrounding areas.
TORCH PHOTO/ KIERAN LYNCH
Destroyed furniture piled up along a street in Long Beach, NY
Joseph Giordano, Junior, Deer Park, New York I used Hurricane Irene as a base for what would happen. I was fully prepared to have one of the trees in my backyard fall through my house during this storm, but luckily, only one came down and landed in the yard. During the power outages, my neighbor had a generator. I had heard stories about people helping each other out, but our neighbor refused to even let us charge our phones.
Courtney White, Senior, Jamaica, New York
A tree hit our house around eight or nine the night of the storm. When the fire department came, they told us we couldn’t stay there because it obviously wasn’t safe. We needed to find a place with heat, electricity and a bathroom, which led us to the D’Angelo Center. We were there for a while and then Public Safety came and said, “You can’t be here.” After a while, he told us to go to the Public Safety office. There, they told us we could sign into dorms with residents. The problem was it was late at night and we didn’t know enough people to sign us in. A few of us ended up going to the Goethals housing, which also didn’t have power and some of headed to a friend’s apartment. TORCH PHOTO/ KRISTEN FARMER
A downed tree lies on the fence surrounding St. John’s.
ROTC cadets lend a helping hand THE RED STORM BATTALION HEADS TO STORM-RAVAGED BREEZY POINT, N.Y.
DYLAN NUNEZ Staff Writer
When Superstorm Sandy hit, the damage was felt throughout every part of New York, coastal areas were flooded and some houses were washed away completely. For some ROTC cadets, this resulted in being mobilized by the National Guard in their efforts to help with the hurricane relief. However, the university ROTC organized several outings to participate in several relief efforts in Queens at Breezy Point and Howard Beach. ROTC helped the family of second lieutenant Jim Lavin, an alumnus of St. Johns, at Breezy Point where Hurricane Sandy had been particularly devastating. During the night of the hurricane, homes that were devastated by the storm were also affected by an electrical fire that broke out during the chaos and 80 homes burned down before firefighters could bring the blaze under control. Located on the western edge of Rockaway Peninsula, the small community was particularly devastated as the surge reached four feet and caused major flooding. “To be honest you couldn’t tell much from the outside,” ROTC cadet Armany Hildago said. “The only way you could tell was the large piles of debris and sand. Unless you went in firsthand, you wouldn’t see the damage that person’s home had been through.” The cadets worked for several hours accomplishing what would have been several days worth of work for the family. They
TORCH PHOTO/ DYLAN NUNEZ
homes in the area and even managed to carry cars away from their parking spots. Howard Beach was among the hardest hit Queens neighborhoods according to the Queens Chronicle, where flooding reached as high as 10 feet. “What struck me the most was how harsh the flooding was,” sophomore Jeremy Liker said. “The water submerged cars. At one point I could never imagine it happening, but it did. I enjoyed helping because I was able to help others who were not able to receive normal help, I knew that if that had happened to me it would mean the world to receive help.” Bello, a junior, didn’t evacuate from her home as Sandy made landfall. Instead, she watched helplessly as the ocean entered the first floor. “I never left, I was there the whole time,” she said. “I stood on the second floor landing and watched my furniture float away. Next day when the water left my house, the couches were in the kitchen and the dining room table was in the living room and photos were floating in the water. You pretty much just watched helplessly as your stuff floated away.” “[The ROTC] came in and did work that would take my family work in four hours,” Bello said. “They did work. I’m very grateful that they came.”
ROTC cadets remove debris from a damaged home in Breezy Point, NY.
knocked down walls, moved furniture and appliances for Lavin’s family as well as the surrounding community numbers. The cadets worked tirelessly to help those adversely affected by Hurricane Sandy.
The cadets also went to Howard Beach, where they coordinated two relief efforts to help Alexandra Bello, a junior, and other members of the ravaged community. Flooding damaged many
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Off to the tournament Despite loss, volleyball makes Big East tourny for first time since 2008 TAYLOR BRISCO
Staff Writer It was an up-and-down weekend for the St. John’s Volleyball team. Needing a win on Senior Night Friday against DePaul to guarantee a spot in the eight-team Big East tournament, the team failed to seize the opportunity, falling 3-1 (25-17, 18-25, 22-25,
22-25) to put its conference tournament status in jeopardy. But the Red Storm’s (20-11, 7-8) weekend went from bad to good in a flash, when Seton Hall fell to Syracuse on Sunday, backing the Johnnies into the final place in the tournament. It’s the first time they’ve qualified since 2008. “We’re excited to have another oppurtunity to play again,” said St. John’s head coach Joanne Persico. “We’re happy
our seniors can experience the playoffs since some of them have not been there in a while.” Next up? The regular season conference champion, No. 11 Louisville. The teams square off on Friday at the Al McGuire Center in Milwaukee, Wis. History might be on St. John’s side. The last time the two teams sqaured off in the Big East Tournament was in 2007, when the Johnnies swept aside the Cardinals en
PHOTO COURTESY OF ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS
Members of the St. John’s volleyball team huddle in between sets at Carnesecca Arena.
route to the conference tournament title. The Nov. 16 matchup will be the second meeting between the Johnnies and the Cardinals this season. The first encounter took place on Oct. 12 when Louisville defeated the Red Storm 3-2 (21-25, 2519, 25-20, 19-25, 15-9). Match Notes: Friday’s loss against DePaul saw the Johnnies’ five seniors (Piegza, Petkova, Asing, Krstojevic, and manager Brennan Johnson) awarded for their contributions to the program. Middle blocker Milica Krstojevic reflected on her career at St. John’s. “It’s sad, especially since the season went by so fast,” she said. “I didn’t realize it until today. St. John’s is a helpful and respectful team. We are a family and coach tries hard for that to happen. It’s a supportive school, which is rare to find.” Persico said that it is a “bittersweet” feeling, but she is proud of the work and time the seniors have put into the program. No matter the outcome Friday in what could potentially be her senior players final game, Persico is proud of the way they have played, managing to put St. John’s volleyball back on the map. “It is a great time for the volleyball program,” Persico said. “We feel the program is headed into the right direction again.”
Sabina Piegza: The master of the assist
Senior settter prepares for postseason before she calls it a career JOHNATHAN CORBETT
Contributing Writer High intensity, a fast pace and teamwork are some of the key elements in the game of volleyball. For senior Sabina Piegza, setting up her teammates for the kill is the most important. The 6’3 setter piled up 1,005 assists in her final year and has helped the Red Storm qualify for the Big East tournament. Piegza began to play club volleyball at 17 in her native Poland before coming to the United States at 19 to play at Western Nebraska Community College. After two years in Nebraska, where she recorded 1,687 assists, 238 kills and 142 blocks, Piegza decided to commit to St. John’s despite being recruited by a number of schools. “I’m very happy I came here because
I love the school and [the] volleyball program,” Piegza said. “Also, the people here are wonderful and I think choosing St. John’s as my school was one of the best decisions I made.” Before committing to St. John’s, Piegza turned to her older sister, Paulina Piegza, for guidance. The elder sister was a member of the Red Storm during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. “She helped me a lot with my decision because she was already with St. John’s and the volleyball team and she encouraged me to join the team,” Piegza said. “She is my sister so I knew that she wanted me to be on a good team.” Piegza is relishing the conclusion of her collegiate career as the Johnnies are 20-11 heading into the Big East tournament, a major improvement from their 10-21 record last season. “We’ll go out there and do our best, play with no regrets and with tough work, we will give our team a chance to win,” she said.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS
Senior Sabina Piegza sets the ball during a match at Carnesecca Arena.
Masur’s men earn tourney bid
Men’s soccer set for tilt with FDU at Belson on Nov. 12 The opening goal of the match will be crucial for the Red Storm, as they are 6-0-0 when leading at the half and 10-0-0 when scoring first, as opposed to a 0-4-1 record when trailing at halftime.
Staff Writer The St. John’s men’s soccer team will be making yet another appearance in the NCAA tournament. The Red Storm (10-4-4, 4-3-1) were handed an at-large bid despite their 2-1 loss at Georgetown in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament on Nov. 3. The Johnnies will be pitted against the Farleigh Dickinson Knights (9-5-6) in the first round. “We’re really excited and it’s a great opportunity and an honour to play in the tournament,” said St. John’s head coach Dr. Dave Masur. “[The team] is energized and excited and we’re ready to play.” This will be Masur’s 19th NCAA tournament appearance since being named head coach in 1991. He won a national championship in 1996 and reached the College Cup on three other occasions – in 2001, 2003 and 2008. One of Masur’s most accomplished seniors, Jack Bennett, will lead the Johnnies into their match with FDU. Despite being handed a more defensive role this season, he leads the team in goals with five, three of which have been game-winners. He also leads the team in total points with 14. Senior Andres Vargas and junior Nick Matthews each have four goals and 11 points on the season. The Johnnies will head into the FDU match high on confidence as the game will be played at Belson Stadium – where they went 6-1-2 this season, only losing to USF.
The Big East will be well-represented in the NCAA tournament this year. Syracuse, Villanova, USF, Connecticut, Georgetown, Notre Dame, and Louisville will join the Red Storm as the eight conference teams in
the competition. Notre Dame (14-3-1), the 2012 Big East tournament champions, was named the No. 1 overall seed. Masur’s men will take to the pitch at 7 p.m. on Nov. 14 at Belson.
TORCH PHOTO/KYLE FITZGERALD
Members of the St. John’s men’s soccer team gather for a viewing of the NCAA Tournament draw.
2012 NCAA Division I Men’s SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP
Cleveland State Michigan State* Xavier
Kentucky* Indiana* North Carolina*
UAB Charlotte* 16
Syracuse Cornell* VCU*
FGCU Souh Fla.*
Fairleigh Dickinson St. John’s* Saint Louis* Akron*
San Diego Cal St. Northridge* UCLA*
Western Ill. Northwestern*
Air Force Washington*
Winthrop SMU* Creighton*
Elon Coastal Caro.* Brown Drexel*
Northeastern* Boston College Connecticut* 4
Maryland* * Host Institution
Lavin & co. edge past Detroit Strong performance from returners lift young Johnnies to first win KIERAN LYNCH Features Editor The St. John’s men’s basketball team’s old guard of returning players, along with a few new faces, was the difference-maker in their come-from-behind 77-74 win Tuesday afternoon at Carnesecca Arena. ST. JOHN’S DETROIT
The game, which was featured on ESPN’s 24 Hour College Hoops Tip-off marathon, was the first regular season chance for Red Storm (1-0) fans to witness the top recruiting class head coach Steve Lavin brought in before his third season. What was quickly discovered, however, was that the four returning players anchored play throughout the game. “We know how to fight,” sophomore D’Angelo Harrison said. “We had guys who haven’t played in a game like this. Having them step up and make plays was amazing. We’re going to grind it out all the way.” Detroit had a 37-29 lead at halftime and maintained a sizeable lead through the early portion of the second half. St. John’s went
on to seize momentum starting at the 9:19 mark as they went on a seven point run to tie the score at 60-60. The Johnnies gave up two more points before taking the lead for good down the stretch. “Naturally, our staff is proud of our team’s gritty performance, finding a way to get a win this afternoon,” Lavin said. “As a group, the players showed a collective spirit. There was some good counterpunching.” Harrison, coming off the bench following his saga of not starting in the first preseason game and not playing in the second, led the team with 22 points and five rebounds. Sophomore Phil Greene contributed a career high 20 points and sophomore Amir Garrett followed with 15 points. “Phil stepped up, he hit big shots in the first half,” Harrison said. “Once we got more stops, we took it on from there and we played good defense from there, too.” Game Notes: Freshman Chris Obekpa, playing in his first career game, set a new record for most blocked shots for a St. John’s player with eight. He passed Robert Werdann’s record of seven in 1979. “I just kept playing like the heat was on,” Obekpa said. “It
TORCH PHOTO/KRISTEN FARMER
Freshman Chris Obekpa goes up for a block during the Red Storm’s game against Detroit Tuesday at Carnesecca Arena. He finished with a total of eight blocks, a STJ record. could have been better. I want to have 10 blocks next time.” “In my experience as a coach and a broadcaster, he’s unique to anyone I’ve seen,” Lavin said. “Obekpa is 6’8” [opposed to 6’10”], but it’s the length and the
timing [that benefits him].” Freshman Felix Balamou dressed for the contest and is expected to play for the Red Storm this season, while seniors God’sgift Achiuwa, Orlando Sanchez and junior Marco Bourgault
wore sweatsuits and didn’t participate in pregame warmups. [We’re] waiting on word related to Marco and Orlando, and Gift, in all likelihood, will be a redshirt this year,” Lavin said.
First victory for Coach T
Johnnies rout UCF, earning Tartamella first career win of Smith’s career. “We expect a lot of the stuff she did for us last year,” Tartamella said. “She’s
ANTHONY PARELLI Staff Writer
got to score for us, she’s been our best defender, she’s a complete player.” A surprise bright spot in the young
The St. John’s women’s basketball team recorded their first win of the 2012/13 season Sunday, defeating UCF 72-54. ST. JOHN’S
The double-digit victory came on the heels of a hard-fought 10-point loss to Texas Friday. The win was the first of St. John’s head coach Joe Tartamella’s tenure. “It’s great to get the first win, but it’s more important that it’s their first win as a team,” Tartamella said. “For me personally, it’s enjoyable to have that moment, especially with those kids I’ve been with for a long time.” Pre-season all Big East forward Shenneika Smith led the Red Storm (1-1) with 23 points and 12 rebounds along with four assists, three blocks and four steals. The effort signaled the 11th double-double
PHOTO COURTESY OF ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS
Joe Tartamella instructs his team during their game against UCF on Sunday.
season for the Johnnies is Brianna Brown. Used mainly as a role player last season, the junior recorded her second double-double in as many games, contributing 11 points and 10 rebounds in the victory. “I think she has shown her ability physically from a rebounding standpoint and a scoring standpoint,” Tartamella said. “But the biggest thing is that she’s playing with confidence, which we expect the rest of the season.” Also adding a double-double of her own was another pre-season all Big East selection, Nadirah McKenith. McKenith recorded 19 points and 10 rebounds while leading all performers with five assists. Leading UCF (0-2) in their effort was freshman Briahanna Jackson who had 20 points and nine rebounds, falling just one rebound short of a double-double. The Johnnies made use of a 15-0 run in the first half to break a 15-15 tie and eventually headed into halftime with a 32-20 lead. From then on, their lead was never in question, as it ranged from 26 points to 12 before eventually settling at 18. The Red Storm return to Carnesecca Arena for their home opener on Nov. 17 against Hofstra (1-1).
Cross Country lends a hand Members of the team set up Sandy fundraiser MITCHELL PETIT-FRERE Sports Editor The strength of the pack that is the St. John’s cross country team has been more than apparent the past couple of weeks. Senior Michelle Duffy, a veteran member of the team, founded a fundraiser called the St. John’s Hurricane Sandy Relief, which is an effort to collect items for victims of the disaster. “Most of our team is from the New York area, so we thought that it would be a good idea to get a fundraiser going throughout, not just the school, but other universities, as well,” Duffy said. Fordham and the University of Buffalo have also sent in donations, while Duffy
said that the University’s baseball, tennis and women’s soccer teams have joined the cross-country team’s donating efforts. Duffy explained that the team will distribute collected items to some of the most severely affected areas of New York, which also happens to be where she, and a number of her teammates, are from. “We’re going to donate to the Rockaways, Long Beach and Staten Island,” Duffy said. “Some of our girls from Staten Island lost people that they knew.” The team has a donation box set up outside the concession stand at Carnesecca Arena, where students, faculty, or anyone who wishes to help, can donate. “We’re collecting everything from food, blankets, old clothes and shoes, garbage bags to cleaning supplies” Duffy said. “We also need help distributing,
PHOTO COURTESY OF ST. JOHN’S COUNTRY
Members of the Cross-Country team pose at Cunningham Park in Queens.
Sports uplift people. It’s a fact. After a natural disaster, a tragedy, or any other event that brings emotional pain to one’s life, sports always finds a way to soothe a victim’s emotional stress. Don’t believe me? Ask a New Yorker who was at Shea for Mike Piazza’s home run 10 days after 9/11. Or ask Saints fans about the ecstasy that enraptured the hearts of every single person inside the Super Dome that night against the Falcons 13 months after Hurricane Katrina. Or ask any Mancunian how uplifted they felt after Manchester United’s 1968 European Cup title just 10 years after the Munich Air Disaster. Considering the latter instances of tender sporting moments, I wanted to conduct a small experiment. I was interested to see what St. John’s basketball, arguably the University’s most prized asset, means to students, faculty and New Yorkers as a whole – especially those affected by Superstorm Sandy. Unfortunately, after assessing in my head the potential answers I would receive, I decided against asking the question. The
Leavin’ their Mark
The Big Dance returns to MSG
PHOTO COURTESY OF ST. JOHN’S CROSS COUNTRY
Items that have been donated.
so if people have cars, we can give them locations.” Duffy and her teammates did not list a specific number of items that they wanted to collect before they began their efforts – they simply wanted to make a difference. “We just want to help those affected,” Duffy said. “Instead of sitting here and sympathizing for them, we figured that it’d be better to get out there. Our team motto this year is ‘and the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack,’ so we thought we’re only as strong as our peers are, and our peers are only as strong as we are.”
A game that heals reason being because I suspected that I would be left lacking sincere answers. I mean, it’s a difficult question to provide an answer to unless you’re a die-hard Red Storm basketball fan. However, I wholeheartedly wished to be enlightened on whether or not St. John’s basketball is capable of affecting the hearts of New Yorkers affected by Sandy. Then, as I was on the brink of chasing another topic to write about, I stumbled upon an article on the New York Times website that spotlighted a Japanese teenager whose father was killed during the tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011. The story delves into how the boy, who is a member of a basketball team, has dealt with the passing of his father. Ryo, the boy’s name, explains how stepping onto the hardwood, playing the game he loves with his closest friends has helped him cope with the heartbreak that has been forced upon him. He even mentions how playing basketball helps him memorialize his dad, as his father was the person that introduced him to the game. Ryo’s story assisted me in realizing that St. John’s basketball has the ability to help a Sandy victim mend an emotional wound, however big or small it may be. When one watches or takes part in a sport, it’s similar to entering into an alternate universe. Nothing else seems to matter during a game except the task at hand. It’s one of the few instances in life when it’s acceptable to scream at the top of your lungs, unleashing however much emotion you wish to release from your body.
I truly believe that a 9 year-old boy who yelps in joy after watching Chris Obekpa swat a ball into the stands a-la Dikembe Mutombo will be freed to let loose a small amount of pain that was caused by his flooded home. I also believe that the raising of the women’s basketball team’s Sweet 16 banner on Saturday can inspire that 35 year old man to volunteer at a shelter in Staten Island, totally overlooking the dreary prospect of repairing his damaged house that will cost him thousands of dollars. Obviously, a basketball game isn’t capable of solving the problems of the thousands of people who were affected by Sandy, but I’m an optimist, and if a game can lighten the face of person whose life has forgotten what delight is, then, in my eyes, it’s worth a great deal. So, because I know for a fact that the victories recorded by Joe Tartamella’s women and Steve Lavin’s men brought a dash of hope to a few lives, I’d like to thank the St. John’s men’s and women’s basketball teams. Thank you for what you’ve done for that homeless nine yearold, those group of Staten Islanders at that shelter and that family who’ve been eating military food for the past two weeks. Mitchell Petit-Frere is a junior English and journalism major who has some food for thought: “It’s about love, love, love, pass it on. It’s about strength, strength, strength, just be strong.” - Jason Lapin
The NCAA announced that Madison Square Garden will host the NCAA men’s basketball tournament East Regional games in 2014. St. John’s will co-host the event along with the Big East Conference. The appearance will mark the 72nd time the event has been held at the Garden. It will be the first ime since 1961 that Carnesecca will host tourament games. “Only three arenas have hosted more tournament games than Madison Square Garden, despite it being more than five decades since the last time it hosted,” NCAA vice president of men’s basketball Dan Gavitt said in a press release. “That gives you a great sense of the historical significance of bringing the tournament back there.” Because St. John’s plays more than three games at MSG per year, they wouldn’t be permitted to play in the East regional should they advance in the 2014 tournament. The Red Storm have hosted tournaments in the past, including first round games in 2001 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY and also at their on campus home, Carnesecca Arena, from 1970 to 1974. Carnesecca will also host first round games in the women’s basketball NCAA tournament this upcoming March.
Blowin’ in the Wind
It’s great to get that first win, but it’s more important that it’s their first win as a team
-Joe Tartamella Headin’ this Way Red Storm home games
SPORTS 14 November 2012 | VOLUME 90, ISSUE 12 | TORCHONLINE.COM
GRIND IT OUT
LAV’S SOPHOMORES LEAD JOHNNIES TO FIRST WIN PG. 18 TORCH PHOTO/KRISTEN FARMER
The volleyball team qualified for the Big East Tournament for the first time since 2008.
The women’s basketball team earned head coach Joe Tartamella his first win with its victory over UCF.